My Baby Lock Destiny 2 is a very nice combination Embroidery and Sewing machine. I have gotten a lot of use out of it so I understand that maintenance is crucial to good performance. A couple of months ago, I did bring it in for a thorough cleaning and servicing. When I got it home, it was like a new machine. Smooth and even stitches. After a while, I noticed when doing embroidery, my satin stitches began pulling the bobbin up to the top. The first thing I thought was it needed to go back to the dealer. Then I realized it might be my bobbin case.
Some of the Baby Lock and Brother embroidery and sewing machines will use a "Green Dot" bobbin case. You might not realize yours has a small dab of paint over the screw that would usually be rotated to increase or decrease the tension. This "Green dot" is Loc-tite installed from the factory. They do this so you don't have to adjust your bobbin case. It means that you should get a consistent tension from your default bobbin with the bobbin thread your machine has been calibrated to. Mine works best with 60 weight thread. The picture above shows the bobbin case with paint on the left side. On the right side, I have a second bobbin case that came with my machine. It doesn't have green paint on the small tension screw.
The bobbin case without the green paint on the small screw can be adjusted if you are using a different weight bobbin thread. You may choose to use thread that matches your top color in your bobbin. If so, using the case that can be adjusted might give you better results if it is say a 40 weight. This thread in the picture above is the type I am using. It is 60 weight. Since I had an extra bobbin case with my machine, I had a great way to test the tension on the one I thought might need to be replaced.
The first thing I did was remove the case and clean really well underneath it. This should be done periodically. I try to remember after each project. You would be surprised how lint can affect the bobbin case. Follow your instruction manual and do any maintenance according to it. My sewing machine was turned on for this picture so you could see the lit up area. Normally I would turn the machine off when cleaning and replacing the bobbin case.
I found my tensions were different when using the original "green dot" bobbin case and the non painted case. I also ordered a replacement green dot case from an online source. I did a satin stitch out using each case so I could see a side by side comparison. Very scientific don't you think? I kept the same thread in the top and bottom also.
All three stitch outs are different. The center satin stitch was the original case. The white thread is being pulled up along the edges. This tells you that the bobbin case is not keeping the tension tight enough allowing the top thread to pull it up. The satin stitch on the left is the non painted bobbin case. It was vastly improved and immediately I knew after seeing the stitch out that the bobbin case was the problem . The right satin stitch is the "New" green dot case I purchased as a replacement. It was also much better than the first stitch example. I did this with my embroidery unit but you could do the same thing by using a wide zig zag stitch that had been shortened to create a satin stitch. Using different colored thread on top and bobbin will also allow you to see the stitch variations.
So it was definitely time for me to get that bobbin case replaced. Take a look at yours and if you are having similar issues, maybe you have a second bobbin case in your accessories. The replacement I ordered online was very affordable and now I am so happy I can sew with confidence again. I filmed a video you can watch bellow showing the stitch outs. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
Talk to quilters and each will have their favorite quilting task. Some enjoy the planning with fabric shopping. Others really like cutting all of the fabric and laying out for sewing. Piecing is probably the big winner among quilters as their most enjoyable thing. A rare few I have spoken to really love binding their quilt. Most have mentioned to me that they finish their binding by hand after attaching with a sewing machine. In classes I have attended, there are usually quilts on display and I always turn the edge to look at the binding. How was it finished? Did they do it by machine and if so, what is their secret to even binding and stitches? That is the million dollar question because every machine is different just like every quilter. I have even had teachers refuse to answer because it is their trade secret and part of classes they offer. I can't blame them because it is how they earn their living. Even so, this method isn't something I have ever seen so maybe you haven't either and it will be that magic process for you.
I have been on a continuous search for a better machine, a better binding foot, better clips, pins, glue, pressing etc... I think I have watched every binding tutorial and read magazine, blog and web articles looking for some way to get consistent results. Results that look as beautiful as the piecing I work so hard to make match and meet. I think that is why quilters dislike binding so much. We have worked and sweated on the pieced top and to get a mediocre end binding result with a machine infuriates us. Maybe you want a quick binding method with a machine because hand sewing isn't your forte. I think I might have stumbled upon a great method just from trying literally every sewing foot out there for my machine. I have done sewing tests, made samples with other methods; and to date, this one is the most consistent.
Meet the blind hem foot. This is an unconventional foot to use for binding but it gives great results because of the center flange. It will ride the left side of the binding and if your needle placement is moved to the right side of the flange, you will be able to get a consistent stitch line.
Your machine may not come with a foot like this. I have a Baby Lock and a Brother so the foot will fit both of them. It is a snap on and you might be able to purchase an adapter to fit your machine. Please do your research before you try this or damage your machine. Every manufacturer should have some kind of blind hem foot. Your results might be slightly different from mine, but you can practice and make changes until you get your best results. If you will notice, the flange has a small indentation. That area has a spring movement that allows the fabric to ride along the flange and then as it gets to the indentation, the edge will slightly fold upwards. If your needle is in the crease of the fold, it will land a stitch exactly inside.
A very important measurement to look for is the needle width or position. Every machine is different and older ones might not be able to articulate side to side. If yours will, try to use a 5.5 millimeter width. That seems to be where my fabric makes that tiny fold against the blind hem foot flange.
Here are the other tools you will need. A 1/4 inch foot. I like one with a flange. I use this to sew the quilt binding to the BACK of the quilt. Two binding Wonder clips are all you need. Make sure they measure 1/2 inch from the hinge of the clip to the end. You will use these to fold and "measure" your binding fabric as you move along the quilt edge. I also usually keep a bamboo skewer handy to help manipulate the fabric.
Here is your placement of the blind hem foot. The flange rides the left side of the binding. The needle is in the 5.5 mm width setting to the right of the flange. The binder clip has 1/2 inch width of binding folded into the hinge area. Adjust the fabric width as you sew. Move the binding clip about 6 inches in front of you as you sew. That is plenty of fabric to manage. If the binding width needs to be adjusted, do it as you go along. Working in short bursts or length like this will allow you to avoid having to pin or glue the entire binding edge before sewing. I have done both and never got excellent results.
When you get to a corner, use the second clip to hold the bottom fabric width to maintain the 1/2 inch. Sew until the needle catches the binding at the turn. You will probably have to backtrack a couple of stitches when your turn that angle to get the flange along the next run of binding.
Here is the quilt after the turn. You can see the binding clip placement. It needs to be moved about 6 inches forward to continue sewing.
Taking your time will ensure straight even stitches. You will see this stitch line on the reverse side. That is why a matching bobbin to the back fabric is a good idea.
The stitches on the back are slightly visible. Gone are the days of trying to land in the ditch for me. I am more interested in having a binding that will withstand washing and drying because we use our quilts. If it needs to be show quality, I will finish them by hand. Remember, it's your quilt. I didn't see the quilting police sweating with me while I sewed this together. No comments allowed except compliments!
So pretty don't you think? Have you been inspired to try this method of machine binding? Would you like to see it in action? I have a YouTube video you can watch below with lots of detail. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
Lagniappe Peddler believes that the process of working with our hands can be one of the best forms of healing the hurts in our lives and welcomes all who visit this safe little corner of the world.
What is a Lagniappe Peddler?
ˌlanˈyap,ˈlanˌyap - something given as a bonus or extra gift
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